As a kid one of my favorite movies was Beginning of the End about giant mutant grasshoppers who attack Chicago. There’s a scene where the huge insects are climbing up a skyscraper and the hero fails to notice one peering in the window. I remember screaming at the TV, “Look out the window!”
I feel the same way these days. I am sitting here with a report on how many of our families are without access to medical care in a friggin’ pandemic. I am staring at data that should be mortifying, then mobilizing leaders. Our most vulnerable populations lack access to what we call the ten services for surviving and thriving that include health care, mental health care, food security and housing security programs and transport to vital services. The list goes on.
The reaction to this report, which highlights challenges in one New Mexico county but is very similar to two other counties, has been…what’s the word…tepid. It appears that in the pandemic and economic free fall, news about families lacking access to the services for survival is not a conversation starter for most folks.
When I look out my window I see a beautiful park. Not a human in sight. The sky is clear and it’s your quintessential Santa Fe summer day. I suppose this explains, to some degree, why our society is the way it is. Those people who make decisions about who gets the services to survive and thrive have a view like mine. Life is lovely.
Before the pandemic and economic free fall, the view out the windows of state, county and city government offices was fine. After COVID-19 arrived? Well, most folks with power in government are adjusting quite nicely. Yes, one does miss the bistros, galleries, spas and mojitos with mint served on the Plaza, but one must soldier on.
Not everyone is celebrating the view. Making gross generalizations is never good. Luckily, there are people in leadership in state capitals, city halls and community coalitions who fully understand the gravity of the situation. They have been paying attention and are working tirelessly to address health disparities and lack of services. Heroes exist. We just require many, many more.
My point is that while the view out your window may not reveal colliding crises, the collision is there.
The hero ignoring the giant, mutant insect at the window did turn around in the nick of time. Will you?
*The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.
Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human, mutant insect or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? The Plan Forward awaits you here: www.tenvitalservices.org